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Thursday, March 16, 2006

WiMax is cheaper than VSAT – Ajayi

President of the Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Mr. Lanre Ajayi, has declared that WiMax is reasonably priced than Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT), which currently is largely in use in the country.

He also said that WiMax would bring about cheaper broadband when massively deployed before the end of this year.

WiMAX is a standards-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMAX could be used for a number of applications, including “last mile” broadband connections, hotspots and cellular backhaul, and high-speed enterprise connectivity for business.

His declaration came as the Lagos State government has entered into partnership with an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) firm, Polestar Nigeria to deploy high speed WiMax in the state, even as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has announced its deployment in the city.

Speaking to ITRealms Online exclusively in his office, Mr. Ajayi who also is the chief executive of PiNet Informatics, said that access would soon be readily available to the Nigerian people, because “we anticipate that before the end of this year, there would be deployment of WiMax in most cities of the country, which would start making impact by end of year”.

This he said, would bring about a revolution in the industry, especially in Internet penetration and usage in the country, stressing that the revolution would be likened to that of the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM).

The WiMax terminal devices, he explained, are very useable compared to Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) that is being offered today.

“WiMax would bring broadband, just the way VSAT is also bringing broadband and at affordable cost,” he asserted.

He emphasized that WiMax is very cheaper than VSAT, and would boost access to the Internet.
A WiMax terminal equipment, he said, cost less than $400, about N51,200, when compared to over $4000 for VSAT, about N512,000.

“This would make access more affordable to corporate and homes, that require broadband,” he declared.

Another success factor, he said, is the transmission link, which today calls for lots of cable being laid across the country such as fibre optic, noting that these are currently being used mainly for voice services.

He anticipates that when WiMax is there for the people to use, some of these transmission links would be used tremendously for data and Internet access.

Saying that with the progress made so far by the likes of the second national operator (SNO), Globacom, on installing fibre optic nationwide and coming of WiMax, promotion of local content to the rest of the world from Nigeria would be an easy ride.

He maintained that the cost of bandwidth today is still very exorbitant.

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